NZ - South Island
ABEL TASMAN NATIONAL PARK
Abel Tasman National Park is renowned for its golden beaches, wildlife, sculptured granite cliffs, and world-famous for its kayaking. It also has a mild climate and is a good place to visit at any time of the year. Abel Tasman Nataional Park is situated in the top North West corner of the South Island.
Banks Peninsula is a peninsula of volcanic origin on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It has an area of approximately 1,150 square kilometres (440 sq mi) and encompasses two large harbours and many smaller bays and coves. The South Island's largest city, Christchurch is located immediately north of the peninsula.
Doubtful Sound is a very large and naturally imposing fjord located in the far south west of New Zealand. It is located in the same region as the smaller but more famous and accessible Milford Sound. Doubtful Sound is unusual in that it contains two distinct layers of water that scarcely mix. The top few meters is fresh water, fed from the high inflows from the surrounding mountains, and stained brown with tannins from the forest. Below this is a layer of cold, heavy, saline water from the sea. This fiord is home to one of the southernmost population of bottlenose dolphins. Other wildlife to be found in Doubtful Sound includes fur seals and penguins or even rare large whales.
The seaside settlement of Kaikoura, situated midway between Christchurch and Picton on the rugged east coast of New Zealand's South Island, is overlooked by majestic mountains, which are snow-capped for many months of the year. Kaikoura offer the chance to watch whales, dolphins, sea-birds and many other species of marine life on a daily basis.
My wife and I, love kayaking on Lake Aviemore in the South Islands Waitaki Valley. We camp at Te Akatarawa camp area. The temperatures are warm and the lake not too crowded. Out side the main holiday times, we are often the only ones on the lake. We some times spend the day on the lake in our two Swing 400 Kayaks. The weather at the lake is usually very predictable. Flat calm in the morning, gentle NW after lunch with a beefy Easterly coming up the lake in the late afternoon. We can plan our Kayaking to suit the changing conditions and have plenty of variety at the same time. The lake is just small enough to be able to go from one end to the other and back again in a day. Or from side to side in a few hours. But big enough to have an endless variety of shore lines and features for exploring. It has lots of willows around some parts of the shore and exploring the area hidden behind the overhanging branches reveals unknown "harbours" bays, and also much aquatic birdlife. And then when the Easterly starts to blow, we surf our Swings home! JOHN BARBER